What do you get when you mix a bottle of tequila, a single mom moonlighting as a stripper, and her sinfully sexy boss with an impulsive side?
Married. You get married.
Rich. Demanding. Hot. Crazy.
That was Beckett Cruz in a nutshell.
Not to mention wild, determined, dangerous, and forbidden.
He was my boss—and, after a drunken moment of insanity, my new husband.
An annulment was impossible… so was keeping him.
I was taking my daughter and leaving, determined to give her a quieter life.
But Beckett Cruz had never taken no for an answer.
And he wasn’t about to take mine.
What happens in Vegas… might just keep you there.
“Beck?” I managed to get his name out just before he opened the front door.
“Yeah?” He spun back to face me, his dark eyes unreadable.
I turned my face to the side so I could see him fully. “You don’t have to go,” I said softly. “You can stay. Only if you want to though.”
He rubbed his hand down his face, his eyes never leaving mine, then walked back into the kitchen toward me. I stood up away from the fridge as he stopped right next to me.
Slowly, he touched his hand to my face, his fingertips teasing my hairline. His dark gaze searched mine, and my heart jumped into my throat as the usual tingles his touch sparked danced down my neck. Then, he slid his hand into my hair, allowing the blonde strands to fall away from his fingertips.
“Do I want to go home to my big-ass house with its cold emptiness?” he asked in a low voice. “Or go to the club where half the girls there still see me as a mountain to be conquered? Not particularly, Blondie. I’d rather stay here. Even if there will be a demand for movies and water and foot rubs from a tiny, sick person.”
“You can.” My voice was quiet, like his. Even if my internal screams from self-preservation and vulnerability were deafeningly loud as they told me I was a fool, that he had
to go, that this would never be enough for him.
“Do you want me to?” His question was… honest.
Like he didn’t want me to answer.
“Do I want you to stay here in my tiny house so my daughter can fall more in love with you than she already is? Not really. But…” Don’t be a fool, Cassie. Don’t admit you want him to stay. He’s just going to hurt you. “I don’t exactly want you to go either.”
“For her, or for you?”
“I don’t want to answer that question.”
“If I kissed you right now, would you ram your knee into my cock?”
“I’d briefly consider it, but I probably wouldn’t do it.”
His lips twitched to the side. “You just answered the question.”
Then, of course, he cupped the back of my head, and he kissed me. It was slow, sweet, gentle. And I didn’t consider kneeing him in the balls for a single second.
Beck pulled back and trailed his hand down my arm before he finally let me go. “I’m going home to get changed and then come back. Do you need anything while I’m gone? For CiCi? You?”
“I don’t…” I sighed and chewed back my pride. “I meant to go to the store today after work to get some stuff like bread, milk… important stuff. But now I can’t.”
“I can get it. Just tell me what you need.”
I bit the inside of my lip, then nodded. “Okay. Let me write it down.” I walked through into the front room with him hot on my heels and grabbed the notebook and pen from under the coffee table. A few things were already scrawled down, so I added a couple more things, including more medicine. I tore the sheet off the notebook, stood, then gave it to Beck. “Let me get my wallet.”
He grabbed my wrist, stopping me. “I’m not taking your money.”
I lifted my gaze to his. “You can’t pay for my groceries.”
“I can and I will.”
“You can’t and you won’t.”
“I can and I will.”
“You can’t and you won’t.”
“I can do this all day, baby. I’m stubborn as fuck.” His eyes told me he wasn’t lying. “And we all know I’m a brat about the word no. So, I can, I will, and I’m going to. If I can’t help you by buying a measly eight items, I’m an asshole who shouldn’t be allowed around other people.”
“You can’t buy my groceries,” I repeated. It was a lame argument. I was going to lose, but I’d fight until I went down.
Beck’s eyes twinkled as he leaned in. “Don’t worry. If you really want to pay me back, I’ll take a blow job. I imagine your lips around my cock will be a pretty good thank you.”
My jaw dropped as he backed off with a wink.
“Mouth open already, Cassie? Enthusiasm. I like that.”
I snapped my jaw shut and glared at him. “You’re a dirty pig.”
“I know. But I’ve got fifty bucks that says you’ll be sucking my dick by bedtime. If you don’t agree…” He shrugged one shoulder, his lips curved in that dangerous smirk.
“If you’re lucky, I’ll bite it.”
“I’ll take that as I’m in for a good time.”
One more wink, complete with expanding grin, and he was gone.
Life is a funny thing. One minute, Cassie Gallagher is doing what she does, working her gig at The Landing Strip, trying to make enough to take her and her daughter away from the craziness of Vegas. The next thing she knows, after an unexpected night that she barely remembers, she’s someone’s wife. And that someone is none other than Beckett Cruz, hotter than sin alpha of the love ’em and leave ’em variety, and, well, Cassie’s boss. Yep. Both Cassie and Beck are eager to clean up their little problem, so getting a quick fix should take care of everything. Except for that one little hitch…
Oh, my gosh, Beckett Cruz. I knew that I was in trouble when he made his first appearance in STRIPPED BARE, the first book in the Stripped series by author Emma Hart. Sexy, smart, snarky, and an avowed ladies’ man, Beck is pretty much the whole package. It only stands to reason that Cassie can’t but help being pulled into his web. This man takes alpha to a whole new level, and, against her better judgement, Cassie’s along for the very satisfying ride.
Cassie’s life is made up of curveballs, but she’s doing the best that she can to stay in control. Raising her precocious and adorable daughter, CiCi, and dealing with her parents’ problems, all while trying to make enough to get them the heck out of Las Vegas, is too much sometimes. In that one weak moment, she takes solace in Beck, neither one of them expecting things to go the way that they do. But Cassie refuses to go all helpless female, and rebounds like nobody’s business. I love Emma’s style of writing. Her female characters are always smart and self-confident, trying to stand on their own even when working through the crap that life throws at them, and her male leads have awesome hearts underneath all their, well, manness. Cassie and Beckett are great examples of Emma couples, and I absolutely adore them.
This series is easily some of my favorite reading lately, and I happily recommend it to both long-time readers of Emma’s books as well as new fans. Another resounding 5+ ‘über-hot, laugh-out-loud, I love these characters and their lives’ stars for STRIPPED DOWN. These are books that you don’t want to miss, so grab them now, and enjoy the ride.
***ARC generously provided for an honest review.***
By day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to two beautiful little monsters. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of whatever she fancies – usually wine – and writes books.
Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.
She likes to be busy – unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.